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posted by janrinok on Sunday May 21 2023, @08:37AM   Printer-friendly

Study finds 90% of Australian teachers can't afford to live where they teach:

The teaching profession is already struggling with shortages and a lack of new candidates in a situation widely regarded as a crisis. Now, research warns that teachers are being priced out of housing near their schools, with many areas even too expensive for educators at the top of the pay scale.

The study, published recently in The Australian Educational Researcher analyzed quarterly house sales and rental reports in New South Wales (NSW) and found more than 90% of teaching positions across the state—around 50,000 full-time roles—are located in Local Government Areas (LGAs) where housing is unaffordable on a teacher's salary.

The situation is particularly dire for new teachers. There are 675 schools—nearly 23,000 full-time teaching positions—where the median rent for a one-bedroom place is unaffordable on a graduate teacher's salary.

Housing is considered unaffordable if a person spends more than 30% of their income on housing costs—sometimes called being in housing stress. Those in housing stress may not have enough money remaining to cover the cost of food, clothing, and other essentials.

But affordability isn't just an issue for early career teachers. For experienced educators at the top of the pay scale, 70 schools—about 2,000 full-time roles—are in an LGA where a single-bedroom dwelling is also unaffordable.

"The study shows the last time a first-year teacher salary could comfortably afford the rent for a one-bedroom dwelling was around a decade ago," says Professor Scott Eacott, the author of the study and Deputy Director of the Gonski Institute for Education at UNSW Arts, Design & Architecture.

"Fundamentally, there's been an increasing gap between salary and the costs of housing that the standard pay rise isn't covering, and it's pushing teachers further away from their workplaces or out of the profession entirely.

"The issue is not just limited to teachers, but all essential workers who are increasingly finding it difficult to find affordable places to live within a reasonable distance of their

"The school system is struggling to find enough teachers as it is," Prof. Eacott says. "If teachers can't afford to live near or within reasonable commuting distance of their schools, we can only expect those shortfalls to continue to grow."

[...] Prof. Eacott says part of the challenge is that no single government department or the private sector is ultimately responsible for housing essential workers. While more investment from superannuation funds in essential worker housing developments is welcome, it won't be enough to address the issue at scale.

"The simple answer is we do need to be paying teachers more. But that may not necessarily solve supply problems," Prof. Eacott says. "For example, it is just incredibly difficult right now for teachers to find a place to rent given record low vacancy rates.

"It's also important that we're not confining teachers to just teacher apartments, but creating pathways to home ownership."

[...] "We rely so much on our teachers, so it's only fair we take steps towards providing them and other essential workers with affordable and secure housing options," Prof. Eacott says.

Journal Reference:
Eacott, Scott. The systemic implications of housing affordability for the teacher shortage: the case of New South Wales, Australia [open], The Australian Educational Researcher (DOI: 10.1007/s13384-023-00621-z)

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  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Sunday May 21 2023, @09:36PM (2 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday May 21 2023, @09:36PM (#1307257)

    >school should teach HOW to learn

    Shhhh!!!! The whole reason my single income is double the median household income is because the role inherently requires self teaching / independent learning / self management and there's precious little competition in the workforce with those skills.

      >guide what needs to be learned

    It seems to me that the core BS curriculum is intended to provide a common experience for BS holders to relate to each other through (and conversely: shut out those who are ignorant of the inside jokes.)

    >The music stopped years ago...

    Decades ago in Japan. Coupled with population decline they continue to have interesting developments in their real estate market, like $25K USD homes near Tokyo... Still, the Japanese quality of life doesn't seem to be declining.

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  • (Score: 2) by sjames on Monday May 22 2023, @03:05AM (1 child)

    by sjames (2882) on Monday May 22 2023, @03:05AM (#1307282) Journal

    WRT Japan, obviously in Japan the real estate bubble has been allowed to pop or at least deflate considerably. We face a real quality of life problem if the bubble isn't allowed to deflate here as well.

    Honestly, if we yell stop whistling and find a seat, even the ones who end up on the floor are unlikely to need a food bank even if they take a large haircut. But forcing that might help a lot of people who do currently need a food bank or might soon.

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday May 22 2023, @10:00AM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday May 22 2023, @10:00AM (#1307301)

      >might help a lot of people who do currently need a food bank or might soon.

      Oh, you mean the lazy, stupid, or otherwise undeserving poor who deserve to suffer as an example to motivate the masses? /S

      The truly stupid (and lazy) in the US are those who think they are making their own lives better by hurting their neighbors. That's how you make a 3rd world shit hole: wealth disparity. Even the rich in a bad place are nowhere near as successful as the middle class in a good place, and the goodness of a place is properly rated by the quality of life of all the people, not just the top 2%.

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